Does Brandon Knight have a future at tight end? #iufb

Kevin Wilson can envision freshman Brandon Knight developing into an NFL prospect at offensive tackle.

He can also see Knight helping Indiana at tight end.

The Indiana coach acknowledged on his weekly radio show Wednesday that Knight has as bright of a future as any underclassman on this year’s team, but said Knight’s long-term position has not been decided.

Knight, who was a coveted offensive line prospect when he signed with Indiana last winter, has been working with IU’s tight ends in recent weeks. So far, it seems to be a good match.

“We’ll see,” Wilson said about where Knight will play next season and beyond. “He actually (plays tight end) pretty good. In this day and age, you need big people. He’s 280 pounds, (6-foot-5) and he’s wearing jersey number 89. He’s going to be as gifted as Jason Spriggs, but at the same time, too, if we can have some really good tackle play and have a 280-pound tight end, that doesn’t hurt.”

Spriggs, Indiana’s senior left tackle, is expected to be an NFL draft pick in the spring and Wilson has maintained all season that Knight could be as good or better than Spriggs. With recent injuries to tight ends Anthony Corsaro, Jordan Fuchs and Danny Friend, Indiana slotted Knight at the position for some extra help.

And although it’s not his natural position, Knight has helped Indiana continue using some larger sets to aid its running game.

“We needed that tight end play to pick up,” Wilson said. “With Michael Cooper, those two guys have been very instrumental in the run game the last two weeks. Brandon Knight is a great young freshman.”

Wilson bullish on Oakes’ ceiling

After Griffin Oakes earned the Big Ten’s Special Team Player of the Week honor Monday, Wilson paid his kicker a big compliment.

“I said a long time ago that he might be one of the best pro prospects on this team,” Wilson said. “He’s only a sophomore — and we have some pro prospects.”

Oakes tied an IU single-game record with four field goals last week against Michigan, including a 51-yard connection. For the season, Oakes leads the conference with an 88.9 field goal percentage.

Wilson, however, wishes he could’ve traded one of Oakes’ four field goals for a touchdown against the Wolverines.

“Field goals are not the formula for victories,” Wilson said. “… I appreciate Griff getting the award, but I wish he wouldn’t have gotten it because I would have really preferred one more touchdown and the victory versus his deal.”

Big Ten East games give IU national exposure

Indiana has had three games — against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State — carried by ABC in the coveted 3:30 p.m. slot this season, which gave the Hoosiers a degree of national exposure they haven’t received in years.

During Indiana’s bye week — only a couple games removed from the close loss to the Buckeyes — Wilson felt how important that exposure can be to his program.

“It was kind of exciting going out recruiting (during the bye),” Wilson said during a recent Monday press conference. “It was a good buzz and vibe with coaches. Seeing people in the hallways — as a matter of fact, I was getting my shoes shined in Columbus, Ohio, and the guys says, ‘Man, that second team quarterback (Zander Diamont) scared me to death.’ He didn’t know who I was. I just had my logo on. I go, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that second team kid, man, he got heart. I was worried. I just kind of played along with him there, because unfortunately it was raining so much my shoes got all gunked up, and I was actually getting a shoeshine.

“… I’m very encouraged with what I hear when we’re dealing with recruits. It’s still a battle. Just because they’re committed doesn’t mean you’re going to get them. There is a lot of water to go over the dam, but I think that exposure has helped a bunch.”

22 comments

  1. I love what CKW is doing at IU! He is turning us into a football program. Keep fighting, Coach. There are a lot of us behind you and the Hoosiers 100%.

  2. This year’s class of recruits will have a lot to say about the success Coach Wilson has at IU. Critics forget that this year is the first year with all of Coach’s recruits as the first year in coaches come in behind and get the players they can. If you look at this year being the first year of Wilson’s teams then the future does look bright. If you add in the needed change at DC after three years then we are 3 years from knowing what the defense can truly be like.

    This year is showing how close IU football is to beating some of the top teams in the country. This coming recruiting class will show if we are able to get even better athletes to come to IU which will point out the program is on a upswing. If the class comes up short then it will be tough to match IU’s season this year and this program needs more wins so the quality of incoming recruits is important.

  3. V13, a KW sycophant of legendary proportion, says: “If you look at this year being the first year of Wilson’s teams then the future does look bright.”

    Wow. Not sure where to start. First, it’s year 5. Second, IU is 0-6 with a great shot at 0-8. So there’s that. Third, they lost at home to RUTGERS when they scored 52 so spare me any “these boys are so close to turning the corner” drivel. Cameron and DiNardo and Lynch all lost close games too. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s what IU does.

    I will say this, however. Why stop at year 5 being KW’s first season? How about year 10, or 20 even, so he really has a fair shot to get the right people in place? Let’s quit firing guys and make Wilson the last fball coach IU ever hires!!

  4. If you look at this year’s losses as wins then we’re undefeated. I feel better already. I love this game.

  5. v13, I know just what you are referring to. Remember when Wilson hit town his 2 possible starters at QB were Dusty and EWB, WOW.

  6. Dunbar, I don’t think Coach Wilson should be given unlimited time and I sure wish it would have taken less time to turn things around. To make things clearer, This recruiting class will show if IU is turning around under Wilson. I happen to think we need to look at more than just wins and losses but I understand you and others only considering wins and losses as that is the way we measure games. I am not convinced Wilson is the right coach but these last two games will determine if he has a chance to change close wins to victories. Just because I see all the factors of changing a program doesn’t make me a sycophant just as you wanting wins doesn’t make you an unabashed hater. We just view this season differently and I am willing to see if the recruiting class is one that can take these close loses to make them wins in the coming year.

    I hope all of us get what we want from an IU football program in the near future as we have suffered for too long. If this experiment with Wilson doesn’t work IU will not change unless more money is paid for the future coach if/when IU makes a change. I still am cheering this team on to two road victories so they can get into a bowl game improving the image of the team that will help with recruiting.

  7. And now we have a battered, rag-arm senior who gets completely worn out after 3 quarters and a 160 lb. Olympic sprinter backup with a weaker arm. So what’s your point, Clarion?

    Also, how is it the prevailing narrative that Wilson came into a toxic situation with no good players and had to build everything from the ground up? Who are the coaches we’ve hired before him who inherited swaths of talent and squandered it? We never have good players minus a couple skill positions. That’s the point. Every coach we hire has to deal with a mess. Wilson is no different. He inherited bad players. He’s recruited bad players. And now we have bad players. That’s the IU football way. We’re trying to find someone who can change that. 5 years in, and it seems like business as usual to me. He took over a 5-7/1-7 team and has transformed it into a—drumroll, please— 4-6/0-6 team. Close losses, yeah I know. A loss is still a loss though. But we don’t have Edward Wright-Baker anymore, so it’s all good.

  8. All very good points. Personally, I think Coach Wilson is a great fit for IU. He’s an offensive guy and this was his first time at the head coach position in college. Not all guys can come in and win big while learning on the job and also coaching at such a historically bad program. He took a shot with Indiana and I’d like to see him continue his progression here rather than become an offensive coordinator at OSU. He and his staff will right the ship, no doubt. It might take a bit longer than most had hoped. Recruiting against the other Big Ten teams can’t be easy yet he’s done a very good job bringing in talent thus far. Bottom line, Coach Wilson is a football guy with great pedigree, give him the extension.

  9. V13, good reply. We def see things differently but I understand your point of view. The elephant in the room is that this is a fire or extend year, and boy is it hard to not laugh at the possibility of a contract extension for a coach who goes 0-8 in year FIVE and loses his two top offensive weapons (Howard is leaving, spoiler alert).

    Wevin Kilson, awesome post.

  10. Flip a coin on whether IU beats Maryland. Next week Purdue will win by 3 scores. KW will stay another year and win 3 games next year. Young alums take it from an old alum and spend your Saturday’s doing anything but gutting out an IU game like myself and many fans have for the last 30 years. Pray that someday IU hires another Hep or Mallory that were proven winners and took us bowl games. Until then go to corn mazes with family and hang fall events with friends but what ever you do don’t go down the slippery slope of sacrifing your Saturday’s to watch IU football.

  11. Dunbar: You put it (#9) as succinctly as it has ever been put.

    v13: “This recruiting class will show if IU is turning around under Wilson.” (#6). Really. I thought it was the results of football games that determined how a team was doing, not high-schoolers signing sheets of paper.

    Demo: Is “Demo” short for “demolition?” Are you some kind of saboteur? Brace yourself, your #10 might have exposed you to getting your house TP’d! Some posters here think that it is fans in the stands who block and tackle. Oh, well, I plan on listening to the Mary game on the radio and pulling for the Hoosiers as always but, win or lose, at least I’ll get some stuff done around house.

  12. 6-6 Wilson gets an extension and this year’s record buys him better recruits 4-8 and IU pony’s up $2.5 MM and gets a quality coach. 5-7 and IU pulls a Maryland- Wilson gets extension and is fired next year.

  13. When Wilson hit town he did not just have EWB and Dusty, he also had a talented young Freshman name Tre Roberson, who began to show his ability as the season went on. He should have been given more playing time earlier in the year. It was obvious that he had the talent to play Big Ten football. Wilson had other talented players in year one. Stephen Houston, Deangelo Roberts, Demarlo Belcher, Kofi Hughes, Cody Latimer, Shane Wynn, Dewyce Wilson, Ted Bolser, Max Dedmond etc….. The cupboard was not as bare as some people lead us to believe.

  14. Yes there were the skill players on offense you mentioned except for Duwyce Wilson who never achieved after HS. But they all had not been developed much yet to what we now remember them by. The QB can only execute what the OL can block and the OL was to marginal(except for 1 tackle)to feed TR to the wolves until the staff had him prepared. The D had 1 DE who was decent but not much support around him against the run or the pass. No the cupboard was pretty barren of play makers. In other words bottom rung of the B1G and not top rungs even for the MAC.

  15. Win six, get a raise and an extension. Don’t win six, get replaced. Life is tough. IU’s results for the 2016 season are NOT going to be better than 2015. We lose too much in Sudfeld, O-linemen, Howard (why would he stay?). The defense is not going to magically transform from terrible to average. Next season, IU plays nine Big Ten games. And lastly, failing to win six will result in a weaker recruiting class, not a stronger one. If Wilson gets canned, his replacement must be a coach with a proven track record as a head coach. I hope Wilson gets to stay, but it must be justified on the basis of results, otherwise IU is just delaying the inevitable for short-term financial reasons.

  16. Podunker, I agree the team needs to win these two games. Don’t be so sure 2016 won’t be better as bringing in a JC QB can provide the experience of Nate. By the way, Nate has a great arm but still is only completing 60% and has mind blanks now and then like the two ints v Rutgers and the interception against Iowa. We could very well get an upgrade at QB and if you read the article I linked to there is no telling if Howard comes back or not. Some people value their college experience IE Peyton Manning and Howard may be one of those. I think he needs to improve his speed for the NFL but the money may be too big a draw.

    The defense will be much better which may mean they rank in the 80’s next year. I am seeing a lot of improvements in recognition of plays IE tackling screen plays in the backfield.

    2016 success, if they win these last two games, will be based on who they bring in next year just as Howard was a quality replacement for Coleman. IU has quality OL players behind the ones leaving so I am not worried about the OL dropping too much. If Howard leaves I am concerned we have someone that can replace him but I do have confidence in Coach McCollough developing our RBs. I know I have a tendency in my life to be optimistic and maybe I am being too optimistic about IU next year. I will be far from optimistic if the recruiting class doesn’t bring in a top JC QB and better DE and DL than they have been getting. Right now I am watching to see if they win these last two games.

  17. V13, I love your optimism. There’s always a chance IU could be better next year, but it is highly unlikely. As for Howard, if he can get drafted in the first four rounds, he’d be a fool not to go to the NFL. Why risk an injury that could cost him millions? I doubt any JC QB is going to come in and run Wilson’s offense better than Sudfeld has after spending four years in the system. No matter how good of an athlete and thrower he is, it’s the mental part of Wilson’s offense that will take time to master. And lastly, while I’m sure IU’s defense will improve, there’s just not enough size, speed and technique on that unit to become a good Big Ten defense over the course of the next ten months. Four wins in 2016 will be a major accomplishment. Wilson must win the next two games in order to have a significant future in Bloomington.

  18. Why in the world would anyone think the defense is going to get better? It is Wilson’s 5th year and we are last in defense by far in the big ten. Our DL and DE’s are our strength on defense, pass defense is the worst I’ve seen from any college team. I remember when Lynch won 1 or 2 big ten games a year and he is using the exact excuses you are vesuvius13. Randy Edsall was fired for going 10–23 in the big ten and Wilson still has a job at 6-32. Slap in the face to any fan who has to watch Wilson fumble winnable games away year after year

  19. Podunker your last post is dead on. Can KW prove us all wrong and show us he can lead young men and be a head coach and win 2 games. Well not all of us. Some are wanting an extension for ole KW now. Win 6 or go back to being some ones assistant.

  20. Just out of curiosity…

    Even if CKW doesn’t win out how many of you really think Fred Glass is going to replace him? Barring back to back four touchdown losses I just don’t see it happening.

  21. Chet, short of the team packing it in these last two games I believe you are right that Glass won’t change coaches especially with so many other schools looking for a coach. I do think it is imperative for this team to win these last two games because they are too good not to win. With Jordan and Nate healthy IU should roll over these two defenses and the offenses we face aren’t as strong as the ones the past few weeks. I see Rutgers as a different game because we didn’t have Jordan for that game and IU is a different team with him.

    Podunker, I expect Jordan to go pro but I could see him come back to work on being a better player before turning pro [they can help him get an insurance policy to protect against injury] because once you are a pro not much time is spent on players they consider back-ups. If a player dreams of being a starting RB in the NFL they need to have all the skills and techniques needed before they leave college. No matter if they come out early or after a full 4 years the pro career average is still 3.5 years for RBs. If he and his family need money he will turn pro and would be right to do that but he is clearly driven to be the best and returning one more year may let him do that. Don’t forget that is a JC QB comes in he will have better receivers than Nate has [they will be more experienced and we add Patrick along with 3 that were injured this year]. A top QB that has a knack of winning will pick up the system and could do better than Nate even if he doesn’t quite have the arm talent Nate has. It will be interesting to see what next year’s QB performs like. I like Nate a lot but I haven’t felt like he is a ‘winning’ QB; as in a QB that makes everyone better around him the way Iowa’s QB helped his team more than Ruddock did.

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